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University of Illinois Extension
Herb Gardening

Borage

Borage

Borage officinalis

Annual

Description

Borage is a coarse textured plant growing to about 2-3 feet.  Leaf color is a gray-green with both leaves and stems covered with fine hairs.  It produces attractive sky-blue flowers that are star-shaped.

Culture

Borage is easily grown from seed started indoors or directly sown in the garden after frost is past.  It prefers a full sun location and once established does well on soils that are dry.  If grown for culinary use, successive sowings of seed at four week intervals will result in a good supply of fresh foliage. Borage is also valued as an ornamental plant in the garden because of its attractive flowers and foliage.  Borage has a tendency to be brittle and is easily damaged by wind so staking is suggested.

Harvesting

Both the foliage and flowers can be harvested for fresh use. It is rarely dried.

Use

The foliage has a cucumber-like flavor that is useful in salads, soups or stews and beverages.  The flowers are used as an edible garnish or added to deserts or drinks.  The harsh hairs on the plant may cause skin irritations in some persons so care is suggested when handling the plant during harvest. 

Popular Varieties

  • ‘Bianca’ – A compact and sturdier form of borage with white flowers. Good for pot culture.

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